Sunday, July 29, 2012
A long good-bye
July 30, 2012
Thank you for your prayers and concern. I am home for a few days to rest and to recoup. I plan to return to Kansas to be with my sister as soon as I can arrange to do so.
Lori, bless her, has agreed to keep my blog current, so you can check here for news. You will also be rewarded (I hope) with an occasional encouraging note from Lori. She writes her own blog, but I am trusting that she may at times share with you here some of her own thoughts as she in turn walks with me through this time of grief and loss.
Beth continues her long, slow good-bye.
In her lifetime my sister often found herself physically alone at times of crisis. As she is dying, her family has committed to being with her physically as best we can so that she need not feel alone at the end of her journey. My nephew quietly and lovingly spends hours sitting with her. Her daughter-in-law and grandchildren come. I am with her as much as I can be physically, and, when physically absent, with her by telephone, Skype, and by mail. The hospice staff is skillful and sensitive, and keeps watch with us.
We are richly rewarded. When she rouses out of that twilight world that she increasingly inhabits, she often will open her eyes for a moment and say with slow happy awareness, “I see you. You are here,” and then, with a smile, will slip away again into that gray world through which she continues to move away from us.
For the most part I am too tired and too sad to write sensibly. I trust you understand, and will tolerate patiently blogs with minimal content from my preoccupied head.
However, these weeks have strengthened (if that is possible) my long-held insistent belief that building relationships forms one of life’s most important tasks.
One evening I helped Beth with a drink of water. When she finished her labored swallowing, she turned her head so that for a moment her cheek rested against my hand.
“Good drink,” she said haltingly with great effort, then, smiling she drifted back to sleep.
Briefly, my eyes filled with uncontrollable tears. I was deeply aware that only the relationship we have built over the years had the power to make that moment a “good drink.”
Thinking with you this week about the way in which only the years of loving, sharing, resolving conflicts, and making music together make the pain of this long goodbye bearable.
See you next week.